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I had a routine dental check-up in late July of 2015 and received bad news–bleeding gums on my lower-right gum-line. As you can imagine this was depressing news. Granted I don’t floss as much as I should. Though I do gargle and brush, twice daily, with national brands of mouthwash and toothpaste. Obviously something had to change, like the products I was using.
Over the years the benefits of nut & seed oils (e.g., for oil pulling), baking soda and xylitol have been known but I didn’t pay attention–it was definitely more convenient to go to a store and give a large corporation my money in exchange for oral care I trusted. So I started reading about these ingredients online, in books and in magazines/journals. With all of the knowledge I was gaining I had to question–why not make my own toothpaste? And why not enhance that toothpaste with essential oils that are known for oral care?
After two weeks of using my homemade toothpaste (and mouth rinse) my gums do not bleed when I floss. Following is the formula for the toothpaste:
- 2 parts baking soda (e.g., 2 tablespoons): Neutralizing, mild abrasive that will not ruin tooth enamel
- 2 parts coconut oil (e.g., 2 tablespoons):
- According to a post (about oil pulling with coconut oil) on Web MD: “Most microorganisms inhabiting the mouth consist of a single cell…Cells are covered with a lipid, or fatty, membrane, which is the cell’s skin. When these cells come into contact with oil, a fat, they naturally adhere to each other.” In other words: like attracts like.
- “Coconut oil has…lauric acid, which is well-known for its anti-microbial agents….a recent study found that coconut oil may help prevent tooth decay.”
- 1 part xylitol (e.g., 1 tablespoon):
- “Xylitol’s molecular structure slows the growth of S. mutans on the tooth surfaces, stops the production of tooth decay-causing acid and neutralizes the pH level in saliva and plaque.” [Source: odha.scholarlab.com]
- Essential oils known for their wound healing, oral care, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties: (Formulated for 3 ounces @ a 2% dilution rate)
- Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) (20 drops): gum/periodontal disease, gum inflammation, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial
- Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) (12 drops): antimicrobial and overall dental tonic
- Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata) (8 drops): toothaches, oral bacteria, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial
- Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) (8 drops): analgesic, refreshing/cooling, anti-inflammatory
- Always use caution when working with essential oils as they must always* be diluted prior to use–especially oils like clove and peppermint. [*Some oils do not need to be diluted but it is a best practice to always dilute.]
- Always combine essential oils in a glass or metal bowl as some oils are pungent enough to eat through plastic. If using plastic, as I did here, first add all of the dry ingredients and coconut oil to the container, then add the essential oils and mix thoroughly.
- The end product is shelf-stable; avoid contaminating the contents of the jar by using a stick (e.g., popsicle, craft, waxing).
- I chose a 3 ounce jar because it was on-hand–go ahead and purchase empty tubes, smaller jars, larger ones. Just be sure you can put a cap on the delivery device to reduce oxidation, evaporation and contamination of the mixture.
- Keep xylitol away from pets, especially dogs.